Few crimes are worse than literally stealing food from families in need, but that’s what happened in Minnesota in 2021 because the government failed to conduct background checks for a “nonprofit” that received tens of millions in government aid. But, instead of feeding kids, people that ran Feeding Our Future stand accused of feeding their wallets.

In court filings in early-2022, “the F.B.I. said it had discovered a ‘massive fraud scheme’ among [the] groups that Feeding Our Future was supposed to oversee, saying they siphoned off tens of millions of dollars by charging taxpayers for nonexistent meals.” [1] The exact total of stolen public money, and lost meals to feed the hungry come to at least $45 million.[2]


[t]he owners of several companies at the center of an FBI fraud investigation involving meals for the poor received tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money despite having a history of criminal and financial problems.

At least two of the individuals who investigators allege benefited from the scheme involving the nonprofit group Feeding Our Future have felony convictions related to theft. One man, at the time he allegedly received more than $600,000 in program funds, was on probation involving a theft from a Burnsville pharmacy. Another was nearly six figures in debt to the IRS.

The problems went undetected in part because neither the state of Minnesota, which awarded the federal money, nor Feeding Our Future, which sponsored the companies, conducted background checks. [3]

Among the contractors selected by Feeding Our Future to handle funds and feed the hungry were “Salim Said [who] was convicted in 2011 on felony charges of fraud, theft and forgery in Indiana after police said he used a stranger’s stolen debit card information to spend $1,040 on laptop computers at Walmart, court records show.”[4]

Another contractor was “Ahmed Ghedi [who] pleaded guilty in 2020 to a felony charge of receiving stolen property in 2017. Authorities say he drove a man from a Burnsville pharmacy after the man stole $1,223 worth of pills, including opioids. Ghedi was sentenced to three years of probation.”

A third was Abdiaziz Farah. “The IRS filed a tax lien against Farah in 2018 for $89,516 that was released in August 2021. The grocery store [he owned] faced financial problems of its own last year: The state levied a $3,419 tax lien against the business in June 2021 that was released two months later, and American Express won a $15,846 court judgment against the grocery and Farah’s co-owner in July that was settled after a month.”[5]

Feeding Our Future Director, Aimee Block, and their attorney, Kenneth Udoibok, both noted the importance of second chances in her defense of not conducting background checks.[6] A past criminal history should almost never be an absolute bar to a job or a volunteer opportunity, but an employer who willfully blinds his- or herself to an applicant’s criminal past runs the risk of falling victim to more crime. In cases like Feeding Our Future, the real victims are the hungry who went without food and the government which lost a fortune.

[1] David A. Fahrenthold, F.B.I. Sees ‘Massive Fraud’ in Groups’ Food Programs for Needy Children, N.Y. Times, March 8, 2022 (“Fahrenthold”).

[2] Maya Rao and Jeffrey Meitrodt, Several meal distributors under federal investigation have history of legal troubles, Star Tribune, Feb. 16, 2022 (“Rao”).

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.